Let’s be honest, when someone says “mindfulness practice” most of us imagine someone sitting cross legged, on a yoga mat with hands in prayer, and in total silence or softly humming.
While meditating is a common way to practice mindfulness, you might be surprised to learn that there are a variety of ways to find mindfulness at any time throughout your day.
Keep reading to learn why practicing mindfulness a few times a day can be beneficial to your wellbeing—plus five easy ways to incorporate it into your daily routine.
What are the benefits of being mindful?
Mindfulness involves focusing on your awareness in the present moment and bringing attention to your sensations, feelings, thoughts, and surrounding environment. A mindfulness practice is for everyone and anyone, and can be an effective mental health tool for those who want to improve or have more control over their thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Studies have shown that mindfulness, mindful awareness, or meditation can also be beneficial to your physical body. It can help reduce blood pressure, improve immune function, enhance mood, and reduce overall stress.
5 unexpected ways to find mindfulness in your daily life
Notice and stay present with body sensations. Sure, sitting on a yoga mat in a relaxed environment might be the ideal place for this, but it can also be done while sitting at your desk with your eyes closed for a few moments or even while you’re in movement.
For example, if you’re on a run and your mind is racing, concentrate your attention on your feet. Notice how they feel when each one touches the ground and lifts off again. Do you feel the cushion of your shoe or the tightness of your laces? Focus on this for a few minutes.
Take a walk without your phone (which means without listening to music or your regular podcast, etc). Keep your technology at home and take a walk through your neighborhood, park, or somewhere in nature. Notice where your thoughts go, let them pass through your mind, then simply let them go. I like to envision thoughts coming in one ear then slowly exiting out the other.
Bring your attention to what you hear. Is it tree branches blowing in the wind or cars passing you by? Are there people talking in the distance or dogs barking nearby?
When you’re having a conversation, really engage. Listen to what the other person is saying, instead of planning out what you’ll respond in your head before answering. Notice their features as they speak, like the color of their eyes or the sound of their voice. If you’re talking on the phone, close your eyes to avoid outside distractions so you can really concentrate on what they’re saying.
Whatever you’re doing—no matter how menial the task (i.e. washing the dishes)—stay present. Instead of just going through the motions, really notice the sensations that come over you as you complete the task. Even if it’s one you do every single day, you’ll be surprised what may come up simply by paying more attention.
Take a mindful shower. Whether it’s a short or long shower, take a moment to notice how you feel both mentally and physically. What does water feel like on your skin? What’s the smell of the soap? Is the temperature hot or cold? Listen to the water falling. Is the shower soothing or uncomfortable? Are you rushing to get out or taking your time? Take note of your emotions as you go through the motions.
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